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Cheese leads food price rise

NZN 19/12/2016 Rebecca Howard

New Zealand food prices rose slightly in November with cheese leading the way.

Food prices rose 0.3 per cent on the month on a seasonally adjusted basis, after a flat result in October and a 0.2 per cent fall in September, said Statistics New Zealand.

On an unadjusted basis, food prices inched down 0.1 per cent on the month after seasonally lower prices for vegetables were mostly offset by higher prices for dairy, meat, and fruit.

Cheaper vegetables and more expensive fruit pushed produce prices down 4.3 per cent on the month, while grocery items, which account for more than a third of food prices, rose 1 per cent, with cheese up 7.9 per cent on the month.

Meat, poultry and fish prices increased 0.5 per cent, while non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 0.7 per cent.

The food price index accounts for about 19 per cent of the consumers price index, which is the Reserve Bank's mandated inflation target when setting interest rates.

Tuesday's data showed food prices rose 0.6 per cent in the year through November, reflecting higher prices for vegetables, dairy, and ready-to-eat-food.

The CPI increased at a 0.4 per cent annual pace in the September quarter, the eighth straight quarter below the Reserve Bank's 1-to-3 per cent target band.

The consumers price index for the December quarter will be released on January 19 next year, when the Reserve Bank expects it will have returned back within the target band.

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